Pitch Perfect 2
Pitch Perfect broke onto the scene in 2012, providing a grown-up version of “Glee goes to college.” The film provided an excellent balance of comedic gut busters and heart warming come from behind character arcs. All that sets an expectation for the sequel, that ultimately falls short. As with any comedic sequel, box office success comes with the familiar title. But with big time competitors like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Mad Max: Fury Road, the price of admission may be better spent elsewhere.
The early summer follow-up features most if not all of the familiar cast, and catapults three years ahead of their first performance, which for all intensive purposes is in real time. The biggest change comes from the director’s chair with a directorial debut from Elizabeth Banks, who provides a welcomed reprise of her role as a lively color commentator, opposite John Michael Higgins. While Banks’ on-screen performance provides some laughter, she unfortunately couldn’t place much elsewhere. Becca (Anna Kendrick) and Chloe (Brittany Snow) lead their same group through another Musical Competition with dazzling arrangements. The new storyline here comes from 18 year old Emily (Hailee Steinfeld, who impressed the academy in the 2010 western True Grit). As a legacy of the Bella’s (Chloe and Becca’s Group), Emily dedicates her time to the group as they attempt to take down the german powerhouses of A Capella.
The biggest concern with Pitch Perfect 2 is an elongated exposition that never seems to end. The film seems to be modeled after focus group responses from the original, with an endless re-introduction of every minor characters quirks to an almost irritating extent. Familiar faces are still being checked off over an hour into the film, and they’re not providing much new in the realm of character development. The acting is nothing near head turning, not to say that it’s much of a drag. As is the case with most comedic reboots, the main leads appear to just be going through the motions.
The film does show bright spots however. Rebel Wilson returns as Fat Amy, taking the place of Jesse (Skylar Astin) as Becca’s sidekick. She involves herself with Bumper (Adam Devine) who is easily the saving grace of the returning cast. Their romance climaxes with a Pat Benatar cover that leaves the audience wanting more. The “riff-off” competition returns as the best stand-alone scene of the film. David Cross’ (Arrested Development, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) cameo steals the show, as the a capella groups compete with cleverly arranged musical numbers. Other cameos of this scene include John Hodgman (Daily Show with Jon Stewart), Jason Jones (Daily Show with Jon Stewart), and five members of the Green Bay Packers.
Odds are, if you enjoyed the first movie you’ll enjoy the sequel, but you might wind up wishing the first movie had been left as a stand-alone. There are interspersed moments of both comedic genius and musical prowess, but as a whole the film falls flat. In an attempt to entertain groups of all ages, it often interrupts heartwarming music with inappropriate humor that creates an opposite effect. Almost as if all age groups will find something off-putting about the much anticipated follow-up to what one day could be considered a cult classic.

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